Responding to a demand among adult Lego customers, National Instruments this week said it is rolling out the NI Labview Toolkit for Lego Mindstorms NXT. The toolkit, targeted at the version of the well-known Mindstorms toy released last week, enables users to create and download virtual instruments to test the toy robots they build.
Lego representatives said last week that the new software toolkit is too advanced for many kids who play with the toy, but they added that they’ve long known that a high percentage of adults buy and use Mindstorms. When Mindstorms was introduced in 1998, approximately 70% of users were adults. While that number has steadily dropped over the years, adults have nevertheless continued to make up a large population of the toy’s customers. Lego and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) have worked together in the past, and discussion groups called Adult Fans of Lego (AFOL) have popped up on the web. Most recently, a new Mindstorms discussion group has formed on the web called LV-AFOL (LabView Adult Fans of Lego). In that group, users with strong LabView backgrounds help those with Mindstorm knowledge, and vice versa.
“There are many, many engineers who use Mindstroms,” noted Soren Lund, director of Lego Mindstorms in an interview at National Instruments NIWeek. “Many of them work with children as Mindstorms coaches and mentors, and many more just want to toy with our product.”
Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones used to fare quite well in the repairability department, but last year's flagship S5 model took a tumble, scoring a meh-inducing 5/10. Will the newly redesigned S6 lead us back into star-studded territory, or will we sink further into the depths of a repairability black hole?
In 2003, the world contained just over 500 million Internet-connected devices. By 2010, this figure had risen to 12.5 billion connected objects, almost six devices per individual with access to the Internet. Now, as we move into 2015, the number of connected 'things' is expected to reach 25 billion, ultimately edging toward 50 billion by the end of the decade.
NASA engineer Brian Trease studied abroad in Japan as a high school student and used to fold fast-food wrappers into cranes using origami techniques he learned in library books. Inspired by this, he began to imagine that origami could be applied to building spacecraft components, particularly solar panels that could one day send solar power from space to be used on earth.
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